Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar) is expected to invite bids to build its next solar project, Noor 1, by early-May.

Masdar has issued a request for qualification (RFQ) to prospective developers for the 100MW photovoltaic solar project. Companies have until mid-March to respond. The request for proposals (RFP) will follow at the end of April or early-May.

The facility will be tendered as an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) project.

Germany’s Lahmeyer International is the project’s technical adviser. Masdar is using in-house legal and financial advisers, but it expected to select an external legal adviser at a later stage.

The solar project will be located to the east of Al-Ain city in an area called Al-Aflaj area. The expected completion date is the third quarter of 2013.

When asked why the emirate’s third large solar project will use photovoltaic as opposed to concentrated solar power technology (CSP) technology, Masdar associate director Franck Wouters says, “Prices have dropped so much in the past two years [for photovoltaic solar units]. It makes sense to use photovoltaic solar for the Noor 1 project.”

Masdar already has a 10MW photovoltaic solar facility in operation. The project, which covers 22 hectares, comprises 5MW of crystalline technology and 5MW of thin film units. It entered operation in April 2009 and is grid-connected.

Following the completion of the first project, Masdar launched a 100MW scheme, Shams 1, which will use CSP. Spain’s Abengoa and France’s Total were selected to build the project in June 2010. The Shams 1 project reached financial close on 3 March.